Monday, October 08, 2012

Twin Cities Marathon 2012

No pain, all gain!  That's the race in a nutshell for me.   It is everything. It is positive. It is splendid.

Last year I entered the 2011 Twin Cities Marathon but unfortunately with my herniated discs there was no way I was going to be able to run, much less volunteer or cheer anyone on. I could barely get through the day without Advil, traction and PT.

What a difference a year can make!

I've run races since I've recovered from my hysterectomy and herniated discs. I've run races longer than marathon distance but running Twin Cities Marathon really brought back the feelings I had last year at this time. 

As I ran along the course, taking in the beautiful sunshine, the awesome crowds of cheering spectators, the vibrant colored leaves, sparkling blue lakes...yes, it was that beautiful, I felt myself choking up. I was only a few miles into the race and I had this hyperventilating feeling, sobs caught in my throat. 

I was thinking about last year, about this year, about all that has happened to me. I thought about how I really felt during that dark time. I really believed that not running was ok. I truly felt that all I wanted was to be able to get through a day without pain. I had to believe that, to keep my mind. What other choice did I have? I remember telling the ER doctor at the Princeton Hospital that I didn't need to run, I just wanted to be pain free as he told me to take Aleve  and Oxycodone so that I could run, oh, and here is a Percocet to get through the hour. No thanks.

Last November I began to string days together without pain, I even began to run a bit. I realized how running had become a part of me. How 14 years of running had somehow created a runner out of me.

While running Twin Cities Marathon yesterday I realized how not being able to run broke my heart and tormented my soul. My heart and soul is now healed. My discs are healed. It's been a long haul, but I'm on the other side of it now. 

The race was fabulous.

I lined up in Corral 2 with two incredible women from my beginning running class. I"ve been coaching them since June.

Their goal was to 
1) finished the marathon 
2) finish in sub 5 hours
3) finish in 430
I always suggest a few goals, you just don't know how the day is going to turn out and a finish is always a good thing!

We began by lining up with the 430 pacer. There was a group of 20 or so of us. Our leader told us that as long as we could see her balloons at the finish we would be over the line prior to 430. She told us she would cross the finish line at 426 and everyone in her vicinity would finish sub 430.  She spoke the truth!

The course didn't seem crowded to me at any point. Maybe I'm just in a different place, holding a different perspective. I wasn't irritated by the spectators, by the 10000 runners and I normally am! I was just so damn thankful to be out there.

The sun was shining brightly, there was   a stiff wind, it was cold. I decided to wear, after much thought, my skirt sports pants with skirt. The extra layer of skirt would keep my butt warm. I had on gloves they were giving away at the expo and an ear band that was in our packet bag. I wore my Patagonia wind jacket and a long sleeved Psycho Wyco 50K finish shirt.  I hoped I wouldn't get too warm. That would really suck, but I didn't want to be cold either.

I knew that Bonnie would be at mile 10, Maria at mile 24 and Tom and Nancy at Summit and Victoria. I wanted to make sure to see my friends at these points. 

The day! It was so beautiful. The leaves in full color, the grand homes around Lake Calhoun, Harriet and Lake of the Isles. Fabulous!  The families out in their yards, cheering us on. The zillions of people lining the road with signs and encouragement. It really is amazing and I just soaked it all in.

I saw Bonnie at Cedar and 51st and gave her a huge hug and jumped up and down!  I love her so. We began this crazy running endeavor in 2002 when we first met and are still going strong. She was Course Marshall.  Filled with renewed happiness I continued along the route, about to hit Lake Nokomis. Sweet. FANS 24 Hour Home. I thought about my 116 mile race here, the couple 104s, a few 80s. Sweetness. 

I trotted along and soaked in the humanity. The positive vibes. What a great day. So thankful to be out running Twin Cities Marathon. My 10th TCM, my 45th marathon.

I didn't speak with anyone but Todd Rowe along the course. He noticed my Psycho Wyco shirt and gained my attention. He hadn't been looking forward to the race until the day before. He talked of his Superior 100 finish and I think he was just tired from all of the summer running. I know that feeling-Superior 100 in early September and TCM the following month. I remember.  I told him my perspective had changed. I was so grateful to be out on the course, running. I probably preached too much about my happiness but it was how I was feeling. He told me later that my positiveness reached him. That's awesome!

Running into St. Paul feels good. I was tired, but not in any pain, I knew that mile 20 was here and the next 6 are always tiring. Just knowing that I am near the end makes the feeling of being tired compound itself. Running along Summit is a blast. 

I caught Maria out of the corner of my eye as I was passing, but couldn't get her attention. I looked for Tom and Nancy at Victoria but didn't find them. Past the colleges, the Governor's Mansion, the beautiful trees, the awesome church and the incredible finish line. There it was!  I made it to the end..pain free. No Advil, no blisters, no chafing. Just right.

Blessed. Joyful. Gratitude. 


My clients came it at 4:45! Woop woop!

I believe Wild Duluth Ultramarathon is up next...October 20th.